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Notes from the Underground

[whitespace] Meat Pizza Sandwich
Meat of the Matter: Greg, Tim and Ryan of Meat Pizza Sandwich get better with rock & roll age--they proved it at the Aptos Club last week.

It's the Meatiest:
Bands from all over SC give a good dose of complexity and powered punch

YOU KNOW HOW Kevin Arnold on The Wonder Years mutated from cute and lovable into a psychotic, stalker prototype of a delivery boy as the series progressed? Meat Pizza Sandwich is a lot like that except it's matured into a formidable rock & roll machine as witnessed last Thursday at the Aptos Club. Tim and Ryan's gruff vocals and razor-sharp riffs opened up and bled from the Husker Dü vein. The amusing facial expressions Ryan made while taming his bass can only be described as not normal. Greg summoned up devilish tricks on the drums as easily as getting yelled at by a Downtown Host. The key to the Meat Pizza formula? The secret's in the meat.

Don't be fooled by its somewhat plain name: The Subtle Oak Complexity speed-dialed hooky songs as proficiently as any trio in the 831 area code. Clever chord progressions and smooth vocals courtesy of Justin and Tony made "Summer of Sweetness" and "Charmed Innocence" memorable. The band's music is hard to categorize, but if I were forced against my will, I'd probably file the Subtle Oak Complexity under "G" for good music.

Tribal Disco Noise came down from San Francisco and headlined. After listening to the first of many vapid, 311-styled metal rap songs, it finally dawned on me--most good Santa Cruz bands eventually head to San Francisco while all the bad San Francisco bands somehow end up playing here.

Hux & Kisses

The Huxtables were in top pop form at last Saturday's cancer benefit at the Mid-County Senior Center. "Losers Night Out" rocked out like no mantra for the donut-deficient can. Colt has blossomed into quite the vocal showman. He had some twisted Morrissey-with-ants-in-his-pants antics going on, and his one-liners were hilarious. Ever wonder why some inmates have tear drops tattooed under their eyes? They must be still crying over the Huxtables' classic tearjerker, "Twenty." When Colt exclaimed, "She can drive out late at night/She picks me up when it's raining at night," somebody should have stolen him a Pulitzer. A.J.'s backing vocals were awesome, and he went postal during "Mail Lady."

Matt's heavenly guitar leads remain, after pizza and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the only thing worth seeing a tomorrow for. Theo, the Huxtables' steady drummer, completely copied his sassy heartthrob look from James of Slow Gherkin--they even shared a birthday that night. The closer, "We Are the Huxtables," exported snot-nosed whininess to new levels. Johnny Thunders poignantly stated, "You can't put your arm around a memory." Veruca Salt added, "You can't fight the seether." I say you can't stop the Huxtables.

Longfellow played bland, snowboarding-video tunes--its best song was a pointless cover of Op Ivy's "Crowd." Teen Heroes reminded me of the Cars with guitars and keyboards fondling each other to delirium--the lead guitarist/vocalist's pouting rock star act was annoying, but in a pleasing way.

I recommend checking out Origami Switchblade the next time it plays. The band cruised through passionate-yet-hard-nosed, Gits-like rock songs and featured a vocalist who can actually sing.


Dojo and Junk Sick Dawn play Callahan's on Friday. Meat Pizza Sandwich and the Subtle Oak Complexity play Jerseys in Campbell on Saturday. Good Riddance, AFI and Fury 66 play two all-age shows on Sunday at Palookaville.
Matt Koumaras

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From the September 3-9, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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